Quality employees are the lifeblood of your trades business. You need the best tradies to deliver better outcomes than your competitors, the most efficient project managers to keep your jobs on time and on budget, and the most conscientious support staff to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine. You’ve put the time into recruiting great staff, now it’s up to you to retain them.
1. Set clear expectations
From your apprentices and office admin staff right through to your tradies and project managers, people like to know where they stand and what you expect of them. So, don’t leave them guessing. This is where a clear job description comes in handy. It will prevent confusion about who is responsible for which tasks, and help to identify anyone who isn’t pulling their weight and causing frustration within your team.
2. Keep everyone in the loop
Workplace gossip is usually a sign that the business isn’t communicating effectively with its employees. Try to be as open as possible with your people, so they know where the business is at. This includes challenges you may be facing. Regular staff meetings give you the opportunity to update your team on company news as well as any plans you have in place to overcome potential obstacles. This will make your employees feel more secure in their roles and stop them from deserting the ship at the first hint of rough weather.
3. Reward your top performers
Everyone likes to feel appreciated for the work they do. Implementing a staff rewards program can be a great way to show your team that you value their hard work, and will help to keep your staff happy and productive. It could be as simple as sending your best monthly performer out to dinner, or could go as far as a formal incentives program that promises big-ticket items for certain achievements.
4. Put development pathways in place
Not all your tradies will be content to stay on the tools for their entire careers. If you want to keep your top performers in the business, you’ll need to set up pathways that allow room for professional development. These can lead from their apprenticeship right through to senior management. Try to take a personalised approach and hold regular one-on-one meetings to identify what each individual wants out of their career and how your business can deliver it over time.
5. Hold exit interviews
Every business will lose employees from time to time – but every resignation is an opportunity to learn. Thorough exit interviews with all your departing employees will help you get to the bottom of why they might be leaving. Whether it’s a personality clash within the team, below-par wages, or a lack of development opportunities, you’ll be able to identify and solve any issues that threaten to send your best people out the door.
Retaining your best staff requires more than handing out the occasional raise. Communicate regularly with your people to ensure they understand what they are in for, and make them feel valued and appreciated. Also, a long-term career development plan for your top performers will and keep them engaged for many years to come.